The Eagles Now Have Themselves A Full-Scale Quarterback ControversyBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Quarterbacks Monday, October 14th, 2013
You can’t play much better than Nick Foles performed yesterday against Tampa Bay. The second-year quarterback completed 22 out of 31 passes for 296 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 133, which is outstanding. An effort like that should be rewarded with another game to start.
Still many of the Eagles players feel Vick is their leader. Star Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was interviewed after the game and he didn’t hesitate to make it clear that he considered Vick the team’s leader and starting quarterback.
“We have two starting quarterbacks, yes, Mike Vick and Nick Foles. They both can play,” McCoy said. “Mike is the starter. Coach Kelly made that clear, but if he needs Nick to step in and make some plays he’ll do that. But Mike is the guy we go with. He’s the starting quarterback, no matter what this town says or what outsiders want. It was Coach Kelly’s call and that’s the call he’s made.”
Despite that, it was one thing that Foles came into the Giants game just before halftime and lead the team to victory, but he did again against Tampa Bay, who have a better defense than New York. Foles started out the game with short passes. He got the ball out of his hands and into the hands of his playmakers.
Should they make Foles their starting quarterback and bench Michael Vick? There’s no question that the Eagles offense has been more consistent under Foles, but would it be a good move to make him the team’s starting quarterback.
Does Foles’ success have anything to do with Kelly getting better as a play caller with Foles than he was with Vick? I think it does and I believe that’s one of the reasons I also feel it’s going to give the head coach another reason to keep Vick as the team’s starting quarterback. Don’t get me wrong, Foles could be named the starter and I wouldn’t have any problem with it, because he’s performed well enough to start.
I think Kelly feels Vick has also played well, despite completing only 54% of his passes. Vick has run for 307 yards. The passing game has been more consistent with Foles under center, but the running game has been more explosive with Vick playing quarterback. I think the head coach is seeing ways going forward in which they can make scoring easier for his offense.
Yesterday in Tampa Bay, Foles led an eighty-five yard drive to get things started. First it was a screen pass to LeSean McCoy for 44 yards. This was a great call. The Birds were expecting man-to-man coverage and a Bucs front four that were going to get after Foles, so they induced the pass rush to go get Foles and ran off the secondary with their wide receivers, then dumped the ball off to McCoy and he had plenty of room to roam.
Forty-four yards on the first play of the game, was quite a way to begin. The drive ended with Foles running a quarterback draw up the middle for the score.
He was getting the ball out of his hands quickly to all of his receivers. Eight of them in fact, got the chance to catch the football in the first half.
There are better quarterbacks in the NFL than Vick, but there’s not a tougher quarterback and the former first pick in the draft has teammates, who respect him and feel honored to follow him into battle. I could tell from the way Kelly answered questions after the game that I don’t think Kelly wants to shake things up by making Foles the starter. He likes Vick better in his offense, which is one of the reasons he named Vick the starter in the first place.
If he wants to make Foles the starter, he’s got plenty of reasons to do it right now. I would applaud him making Foles the starter, but I don’t think he’s going to do it. Kelly likes to have a speedy quarterback. Foles has done everything anyone could ask to be the starter.
I say all of that but still believe Kelly has called a better game with Foles at the helm. The head coach is getting better as the team goes forward. That screen to start the game was a great call. I don’t give Kelly all of the credit for the success of Foles because the youngster has played great, but I give him some of it.
On the first touchdown throw to Jackson, Foles faked a throw to Brent Celek who was crossing short to his right, safety Mark Barron bit up on the fake and Foles threw the ball in back of him to crossing speedy wide receiver. The Bucs were in a quarter coverage, which has the four defensive backs defending their area of the field. Barron went up after the short receiver on the Foles fake and it opened up the inside route of Jackson’s.
Foles put plenty of air under the touchdown pass to Riley Cooper. It gave Cooper time to get in great position against Buccaneers rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks. Foles made the same kind of throw to Jackson when he came from across the field on a diagonal for the score.
The difference between Foles and Vick has been in the red zone. With Vick at the quarterback position, the Birds have only been able to score touchdowns in 5 out of 19 trips. With Foles as the signal caller the Birds have scored touchdowns in 5 of 9 journeys to the red zone.
His quarterback rating during those trips is 104.2, which is an outstanding number. Vick’s quarterback rating has been 57.1, during his trips to the red zone.
The only thing Vick has done better than Foles is running for two touchdowns compared to Foles’ one running score.
In mop up time during the Denver game, Foles threw a touchdown pass to Eagles wide receiver Jeff Maehl in the red zone. He then connected with DeSean Jackson on a stop and go last week in the red zone. Yesterday, he ran a quarterback draw for a touchdown, then he got the ball to Jackson on the crossing route from twelve yards out for another score. He’s getting the job done in the red zone, but will Kelly name him the starter.
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